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Programme list > Bachelor of Veterinary Science

Bachelor of Veterinary Science


Join a world-leading veterinary science programme

By studying veterinary science at Massey University you’ll join a world-leading veterinary programme that will qualify you to work as a veterinarian in many different areas.

  • Level

  • Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
  • Campus

  • Manawatū
  • Credits

  • 600
  • Duration

  • 5 year(s) full-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students studying in NZ
  • Other

  • This programme has two phases: pre-selection (open entry) and professional phase (selected entry).

Becoming a veterinarian is a great goal that leads to an interesting, varied and rewarding career working with people and their animals. Massey’s veterinary degree is highly ranked and widely accredited. Our graduates can work in many countries including the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and several in Asia.

Great facilities

Veterinary science is a key focus for Massey University and we have some of the best facilities in Australasia. You can see them in our Behind the Scenes virtual tour.  We’re also currently building more great facilities that will make our future veterinary students’ learning experience even better.                         

Pre-selection and professional phases

Our Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), is a five-year (10 semester) programme offered solely on the Manawatū campus. The first semester (starting in February) is referred to as the ‘pre-selection’ semester. Depending on your performance in the pre-selection semester, you may be selected to the ‘professional phase’ beginning in July (4.5 years long). Selection is competitive so focussing on great results for your first semester is vital.  It pays to come well prepared for the pre-selection semester.  Make sure you work on your people skills and get a good background in the sciences before joining us.

A broad range of species

If you’re selected into the professional phase, you’ll be well trained in a broad range of species. You’ll get lots of hands on learning and develop problem-solving skills while learning everything you need to work as a veterinarian. You’ll spend the final year on clinical placements and have the opportunity to focus more in your area of interest. In line with the international recognition of the degree, you will find the study rigorous, challenging and interesting.

Come and join us at Massey University and become one of tomorrow’s great veterinarians.

Careers and further study


Studying veterinary science at Massey University will give you scientific training with a broad range of species.   As well as working as a clinical veterinarian, your veterinary degree could lead to many different challenging and rewarding careers.

Veterinary practice

If you work as a clinical veterinarian you’ll provide high-quality care for animals, whether they are pets, working animals, livestock or wildlife. You’ll use diagnostic and communication skills to promote the health and wellbeing of a range of animals, to make a real difference for both them and their owners.

Develop specialist skills

If you have a particular interest, you could become a specialist in that area by completing some further training. There are veterinary specialists in areas like oncology (cancer), ophthalmology (eyes), dermatology (skin), epidemiology and surgery.

You could work as a specialist for a private company or use your specialist skills to make your mark as a university lecturer, helping to teach and inspire up and coming veterinarians.

Other potential careers

There are many other career opportunities for you with your veterinary qualification, like:

  • helping to diagnose new and emerging animal diseases and working on responses to potential outbreaks.
  • working as a food safety veterinarian to protect public health.
  • researching in various different areas of animal health.
  • helping to create policies to promote animal welfare in New Zealand or overseas.
  • protecting New Zealand wildlife.

Further study

Most BVSc graduates start working in clinical practice for a few years. Some continue in clinical roles for the rest of their careers, while others may take the opportunity to develop further skills through clinical specialisation or postgraduate study.

International students

Our international students are an important part of our program and we’re well known for the close and supportive relationship our students have with staff. We understand it takes a special kind of person to choose to complete their veterinary degree abroad and we welcome you to join us. By studying at Massey you’ll join a highly ranked, world-class veterinary science program that will open up career options in a wide variety of rewarding areas relating to animal and human health.

Fast track your veterinary career

In New Zealand, professional training programmes (like medicine, vet and law) are undergraduate degrees, so you don’t need a previous degree. Whether you’ve recently completed high school or have already done a couple of years or even a degree or two at university, you could join one of our two pathways to become a veterinarian in five years or less.  The Massey veterinary degree is one of the fastest paths to becoming a fully qualified, veterinarian accredited to work in many countries (including the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, NZ and others). By spending fewer years at university, you can start your veterinary career sooner and save on tuition fees.

Renowned for an excellent lifestyle, New Zealand is a great place to study abroad for your AVMA-accredited veterinary degree.

A note for Canadian and American applicants

An undergraduate veterinary degree is a different educational model than you would be used to. However, as our degree is accredited by the Canadian and American Veterinary Medical Associations, you can be confident that it is recognized as the equivalent of a DVM degree from a North American vet school.  This means you can return and work in exactly the same way as if you had graduated from a vet school there.  If you are applying through VMCAS (North America) you will be a Group 2 student.

Studying in New Zealand

How to apply and deadlines

Go to the ‘Entry requirements’ tab of this site and use the pathways tool to determine which of our two international student pathways is right for you. You can then access the right information on how to apply to start your veterinary journey at Massey University.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


The Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) is a five-year degree divided into two phases:

  • a pre-selection phase (a minimum of one semester). Entry into the pre-selection semester is open to anyone who meets the Massey University entrance requirements.

This is followed by:

  • a professional phase (9 semesters – 4.5 years). Entry into the professional phase is through a selection process based on your performance in the pre-selection phase.

Expected high school preparation

Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) should give you the expected background knowledge for the prerequisite courses.

  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology.
  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

For your own preparation it’s also recommended, but not required, that you do at least 14 credits of NCEA Level 2 mathematics and/or physics before starting the pre-requisite courses.

If you haven’t done the level of science noted above, contact us through the Enquire button on this page and we can discuss preparation programmes to help you get ready for the pre-requisite courses.

Pre-entry Veterinary Practical Work Experience

You’ll need to complete some observation/work experience in a veterinary clinic prior to the pre-selection semester. Read the ‘Before you start’ section on the Courses and planning tab for more details on the expected background knowledge and work experience.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

If you’re already a student in a veterinary programme elsewhere and wish to enquire about transferring into our veterinary programme contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

Other requirements

Phase 1: Pre-selection semester

The pre-selection semester for the BVSc is offered at the Manawatū Campus in Semester One beginning in late February. It is your opportunity to show us you have what it takes to become a veterinarian. You’ll complete pre-selection courses and a range of selection assessments. You’ll want to do really well in these pre-selection courses to improve your chances of selection into the professional phase.

Please refer to the “Courses and Planning” tab to see the prerequisite courses in the pre-selection phase. The selection assessments are described in the selection pathway specific information below.

There is no limit on the number of places in the pre-selection semester. However, selection into the professional phase is competitive, so make sure you are prepared. Work on your people skills and get a good background in the sciences before joining us for the pre-selection semester.

Veterinary applicants must undertake their Semester One study, whether it is in the BVSc pre-selection semester or another programme in the pre-selection phase, at the Massey University Manawatū campus if either:

  • you have not already passed all four of the professional phase pre-requisite courses, or
  • you do not have an eligible semester of study (as specified in the BVSc GPA-regulations) completed at Massey University.

Phase 2: Professional phase

The professional phase of the BVSc is essentially ‘vet school proper’. It starts in Semester Two (mid-July) at the Manawatū Campus. There are limited places (100 domestic and 30 international places), so entry is competitive. If you are selected you will take courses over the next 4.5 years which cover everything needed to become a qualified veterinarian. Please refer to the ‘Courses and Planning’ tab to see the courses in the professional phase.

The total number of times you can apply for the BVSc professional phase regardless of pathway is limited to THREE (3).  Attempts are counted from 2020 onwards.

Finding the right professional phase selection pathway and policy for you

Every year there are more applications than the number of places available (100 domestic and 30 international places). So there is a selection process based on assessment of both academic and non-academic performance.  

You’ll apply for selection through one of four pathways. You need to know which pathway is right for you, as they have different selection policies. While ultimately the University will determine the correct pathway for you, you can use the “Determine your application pathway” tool to guide you to the right pathway. Once you know your pathway, you can click on the pathway links below to go straight to the information. Make sure you read all the information for your pathway.

Domestic student pathways

  • General (Open to all domestic students)
  • VetMAP (Open to domestic students with Māori or Indigenous Pacific ancestry)

International student pathways

Important note regarding veterinary selection

The veterinary selection process is complex, so written advice should be sought from a specialist veterinary academic adviser in Academic Advice at Massey University by contacting us through the Enquire button on this page. This is especially important if you have completed any previous university-level study. Please do not seek advice about veterinary selection from any other university staff members as only the specialist veterinary academic advisers are trained regarding the many factors that must be considered. Please be reminded that in your application for admission you have agreed that you will not rely on verbal advice.

If you have questions, contact us through the Enquire button and note “vet selection advice” in the subject line.

Places in the professional phase

Total places: 130





General NZ/Aus citizens and permanent residents


VetMAP: Māori or Indigenous Pacific


Group 1


Group 2


Pre-selection semester (Semester One)


Professional Phase (Semester Two)

Domestic: 100 places. International: ~30 places.

Note: Domestic and International students are NOT competing in the same pool for selection.

If you do not have the entry requirements

Contact one of our veterinary advisors through the Enquire button on this page. They can talk to you about your options to get prepared for the pre-selection semester

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills or need more science or math background knowledge before you start the pre-selection phase, we have courses and programmes that may help. Please do not enrol in any science or math courses prior to discussing them with a veterinary advisor, as they may have implications for your vet selection.

Summer School

It may be helpful for you to do a course before you start your programme. In that case there may be options for you in Summer School. Please do not enrol in a summer school course prior to discussing it with a veterinary advisor, as it may have implications for your vet selection.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

600 credits

  • 10 days (80 hours) of work experience in a veterinary clinic prior to the start of the BVSc pre-selection semester
  • Year 1 BVSc pre-selection semester – 60 credits
  • Year 1 Semester 2 – 60 credits
  • Year 2 – 120 credits
  • Year 3 – 120 credits
  • Year 4 – 120 credits
  • Year 5 – 120 credits
  • Year 5 – 120 credits

This is a year-based qualification. There are regulations around your completion of Year One before progressing to Year Two and so forth.

Courses for this programme

Pre-Selection Phase

First Year

123104 Chemistry for Biological Systems 15
124103 Biophysical Principles 15
162101 Cell Biology 15
199103 Animals and the Environment 15

Professional Phase

First Year

227106 Veterinary Biochemistry 15
227107 Animal Behaviour and Welfare for Veterinary Science 15
227108 Introduction to Veterinary Anatomy 15
227109 Introduction to Veterinary Physiology 15
227110 Farm Practical Training 0

Second Year

227212 Animal Production for Veterinarians I 15
227215 Animal Production for Veterinarians II 15
227221 Veterinary Structure and Function I 15
227222 Professional Practice 15
227223 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science I 15
227224 Veterinary Structure and Function II 15
227225 Veterinary Infectious Diseases 15
227226 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science II 15

Third year

227310 BVSc Farm Practical Work 0
227311 Farm Animal Population Health and Production 22
227312 Veterinary Infectious and Parasitic Diseases 19
227313 Veterinary Anatomic and Clinical Pathology I 21
227314 Introductory Veterinary Clinical Studies II 16
227316 Companion Animal Medicine, Surgery and Therapeutics I 18
227317 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science V 12
227325 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science IV 12

Fourth Year

227410 BVSc Veterinary Practical Work 0
227411 Veterinary Anatomic and Clinical Pathology II 16
227413 Cattle Health, Production, Population Medicine and Therapeutics 12
227414 Companion Animal Medicine, Surgery and Therapeutics II 25
227416 Integrative Studies in Farm Animal Production Medicine 12
227418 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science VII 12
227425 Integrative Studies in Veterinary Science VI 12
227431 Companion Animal Medicine, Surgery and Therapeutics III 10
227432 Equine Clinical Studies 15
227433 Medicine and Surgery of Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians 6

Fifth Year

227511 Veterinary Clinics and Public Health 120

Planning your programme

Planning overview

The Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) is a 5-year degree divided into two phases: a pre-selection phase (a minimum of one semester) followed by a professional phase (9 semesters – 4.5 years).


School and personal experience
You'll need good people skills and a strong background in science and maths.

Pre-entry clinical experience
Complete 10 days (>=80 hours) of observation/work experience in a vet clinic before pre-selection.


Semester One


Semester Two


Yr 1

Pre-selection semester
Chemistry, cell biology, animals and the environment, biophysical principles


Professional Phase

Classes, practicals

Practical work ~21 weeks

Yrs 2‑4

Classes, practicals


Classes, practicals, external clinics

Yr 5

Clinical Year (48 weeks)
Tracks: Small animal, production animal, equine, mixed, other

Core weeks
All students in all
tracks do these

Set Weeks
Set for
each track

OWN Weeks
Varies by student

Key dates

1 November 2021

International Group 2 admission application for BVSc Professional Phase due and deadline to submit transcripts

1 February 2022

SoVS VetMAP application due

4 February 2022

Domestic admission application for BVSc pre-selection due

5 March 2022

Domestic, VetMAP & International Group 1 admission application for BVSc Professional Phase due

9 March 2022

SoVS Veterinary Programmes Supplementary Application due by noon

May 2022 (TBC)

MMI Interview Weekend (General, VetMAP and Group 1)

12 July 2022

Initial selection outcomes advised through student portal

15 July 2022

Final selection outcomes advised

18 July 2022

Semester Two commences

Practical work experience during the degree

Once selected into the professional phase of the BVSc you will complete ~21 weeks of farm and veterinary practical work.  This practical work is usually completed during semester and summer breaks of Years 1-4.  More detail is provided to selected students when they begin the professional phase.

Professional requirements

Registering as a veterinarian

New Zealand

Once you successfully complete the requirements for your Bachelor of Veterinary Science, you’ll be able to register to practise as a veterinarian in New Zealand through the Veterinary Council of New Zealand.  You’ll need to renew your registration annually to maintain a current practising certificate. As part of your annual renewal you’ll need to meet minimum practising standards (‘fitness to practice’). 

Other countries

As the Massey University Veterinary degree is accredited in many parts of the world, you can also register to work there. Access their registration information below.


The Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree (BVSc) from Massey University is recognised as being equivalent to a DVM from an accredited North American university.  If you graduate with the Massey BVSc and wish to register to work as a veterinarian in the United States of America or Canada, you are required to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) like any students graduating from an accredited school in North America.  

NAVLE pass rates for Massey BVSc students/graduates







Nov/Dec 2016 – April 2017






Nov/Dec 2017 – April 2018






Nov/Dec 2018 – April 2019






Nov/Dec 2019 – April 2020






Nov/Dec 2020 – April 2021







Total: 161

Total: 145

Average: 504

Average: 495

Average: 91

Employment Rates (6 months post-graduation)

Class of






% respondents employed full-time






% respondents employed part-time






% respondents employed







New graduates with one to three years’ experience usually earn between $60,000 to $83,000, depending on experience, responsibilities and location.

Before you start

Pre-entry veterinary practical work experience

You must complete 10 days (total ≥80 hours) of veterinary practical work experience in a veterinary clinic(s) or hospital(s) within three years of starting the professional phase of the degree. This may be completed in New Zealand or overseas. Your should complete this BEFORE you start the pre-selection semester as you won’t have time to complete it after the semester starts. For your preparation, we recommend (but do not require) that you complete one week of small animal and one week of large animal experience.

To access the pre-entry practical work verification form, click on the “Entry Requirements” tab and scroll down to the “Finding the right professional phase selection pathway and policy for you” section. Select the pathway that is appropriate for you and the verification form will be located on the pathway information page.

Veterinary School Faculty

If you’d like to know more about the School of Veterinary Science faculty, there is a list of staff in the veterinary school. To learn more about a staff member, you can click on their name to see their profile.

Withdrawal from Veterinary Study

Veterinary students have the option to take some time out of their studies. This might be to take advantage of an amazing opportunity, or for health or wellbeing reasons. In the School of Veterinary Science we believe students need to prioritise their health and wellbeing, so we see time-out as a proactive choice. We strongly encourage students to talk to their year coordinator or a member of the veterinary programme management team to ensure they understand all policy regarding their departure and return. On the Massey website, there are instructions regarding withdrawal from courses if this is required.

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.

Fees for BVSc pre-selection semester

If you are applying for student allowances or a student loan through StudyLink for the BVSc pre-selection semester, you will need to apply for your loan or allowance as a Bachelor of Science (BSc) student. If you have qualified for a student allowance or student loan and are selected into the professional phase you will need to advise StudyLink of your new programme (Bachelor of Veterinary Science - BVSc) for Semester Two of your study.

For any other student allowance or loan queries please contact StudyLink directly.

How much money do I need for university and living costs?

Total cost of attendance

The cost of attendance is an estimate of your total university costs and living costs for an academic year. This document will show estimated the cost of attendance for both domestic and international students based on 2021 costs. There are some further notes below.

Living Costs

Living costs can vary considerably depending upon type of accommodation (eg living alone or with others), location and personal spending habits, but generally NZD$15,000 – $20,000 is required for 12 months.

For international students who enter New Zealand on a student visa, Immigration NZ requires you to have NZD$15,000 available in addition to your course fees for each year you’ll be studying in New Zealand, plus an additional NZD$2000 to cover a return ticket home. For more information, see the Fees, scholarships and living costs webpage.

Financial Aid

Massey University is registered with the governments of Canada and the United States to process financial aid for citizens and permanent residents of both countries. For more information, see the Financial aid for North American students webpage.

Average student debt

Each year the graduating class is surveyed on their average student debt whilst studying the BVSc degree.  The average student debt for domestic students is $90,000 and for international students is NZ$350,000 and this includes all prior university education.

A good fit if you:

  • do well in science and mathematics
  • like solving problems and are self-motivated
  • want a challenging and rewarding career working with animals.

Meet our students

Accreditations and rankings

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Massey's veterinary programme is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Australasian Veterinary Board Council (AVBC)

Massey's BVSc programme is fully accredited by the Australasian Veterinary Board Council.

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

Massey's veterinary programme is accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).

QS Ranking - Veterinary Science

Massey University’s veterinary programme is ranked 19th in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

The BVSc programme is fully accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)

The BVSc is recognised through reciprocity by the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA).

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Professional phase

You can apply for the BVSc professional phase using the Apply now button on this page. You can submit any required documents as part of this application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

Scholarships related to this programme

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships